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Photo © Werner Kaligofsky

Self-Service Re-Branding Station

in the exhibit ‘shopPING’

Generali Foundation. Vienna Austria

2001


    With the exhibition shopPING the Generali Foundation offered an extensive opportunity to reflect on the multifaceted aspects of consumer culture. The starting point was a popular practice in everyday culture that nowadays does not necessarily involve the purchase of a specific product. Shopping is no longer restricted to the acquisition of goods but is an experience in itself. Promenading along shopping streets, strolling and observing at the same time, has become a common pastime. Today, leisure time is spent in places that function as hidden markets.

    Visitors to the exhibition find several stations where they can experience, comprehend, and critically reflect on aspects of "shopping." The exhibition space functions simultaneously as a site of production and communication, and is expanded via an audio tour into the city. The Audio-Shopping-Tour along Vienna's shopping strip, the Mariahilferstrasse, starts with the visitors’ experiences and proposes to reflect on the economic, cultural, and political context. The media station takes up the issue of the transformation from an industrial to an information and media economy and offers the possibility of medially re-working "shopping" in various formats. In the Cineplex the theme of film and TV consumption is positioned within the wider context of consumer culture and a video library selection offers further insight into the discussion of the theme. A photo series by Alice Arnold and Maria Ziegelböck, produced parallel to a research project, visually grasps the identity of shopping. The poster campaign, consisting of four subjects from Vienna and New York, makes the street an exhibition and operates on the border between advertising aesthetics and reality. Self-Service, a project by Alan Bruton, offers an opportunity for independent intervention through a reconstruction of the components of branding.

    In the Browsing Art section, a collage of approximately 80 works by 60 artists of different generations and countries provide examples on the artistic discourse of consumer culture. The Generali Foundation showcase (Karlsplatz Passage) has been conceived and designed in co-operation with the class for Visual Media Art and Design of the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. The discussion series, which takes place parallel to the exhibition, offers the possibility for debating issues of: consumption; youth and neo-liberalism; production and distribution; the construction of the consumer; shopping for identity; and consumption and the city.

    The starting point for this interdisciplinary project was a micro-analysis within the framework of an ethnographic study carried out by Anette Baldauf and Katharina Weingartner, in collaboration with Alexandra Seibel and Heide Tebbich. They concentrated on the shopping practices of both individuals and groups within the context of youth culture, corporate principles of order in the areas of production and marketing, and their embedding in the comprehensive social, political, economic, and ecological connections.


Exhibition Concept and Audio Tour: Annette Baldauf, Katharina Weingartner in collaboration with Dorit Margreiter, Alan Bruton, Alice Arnold
Exhibition Coordination: Nadja Wiesener

Browsing Art. Artistic Strategies and Shopping:
Curators: Sabine Breitwieser, Dorit Margreiter and
Nadja Wiesener

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